Static tax incentives for gaming sector cause for concern, says industry group

B.C. budget offers no relief to industry seeking to match new incentives from Alberta

Capcom Co., Ltd. shuttered its studio in Burnaby last year | Photo: Capcom Vancouver / Twitter

The industry group representing B.C.’s gaming and virtual reality sectors says the latest provincial budget leaves the province competitively vulnerable.

Tuesday’s (February 20) unveiling of the budget revealed no further bumps in the province’s Interactive Digital Media Tax Credit (IDMTC) will be forthcoming in the next fiscal year.

DigiBC said that leaves the IDMTC at 17.5% — the lowest incentive in Canada.

For comparison, Ontario’s comparable tax credit is 40%, Quebec’s is 37% and Alberta’s is 25%.

Prior to the release of the budget DigiBC had been holding talks with the province to boost the IDMTC to 25%.

DigiBC executive director Brenda Bailey said she values the retention of the tax credit, however, she’s concerned about a growing gap between B.C. and other provinces.

“In not addressing this gap, we continue to risk talent flowing away from B.C. That not only costs the IDM [interactive digital media] sector but innovation in the province as well,” Bailey said in a statement.

“The IDM sector is growing in Canada and globally, but, by design, not in B.C.”

Meanwhile, the local industry has seen a number of studios close down in recent months, albeit not for reasons directly related to tax incentives.

About 150 workers lost their jobs following the sudden closure of Capcom Game Studio Vancouver Inc. last summer — a decision brought on by its Japanese parent company, Capcom Co. Ltd.

And Bandai Namco Studios Vancouver Inc. — also owned by a Japanese parent company — shuttered last year, too.

torton@biv.com

@reporton